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Gerardo Bonilla Update - Preparing for 2008

Image by www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com


I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  Life is good.  Yesterday I participated in the Indy Racing League's annual drivers meeting at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


It began Monday as I boarded a much delayed flight from Atlanta to Indianapolis.  Who was my seat-mate?  None other than Indy 500 champion and Dancing With The Stars winner Helio Castroneves.  It was turning out to be a great 2-day trip.  Our conversation steered to race cars we had driven in the past, and one of our mutual favorites was older wingless 2-liter formula cars.  He also talked about how much he missed racing with the Michael Shank Racing team in the Daytona Prototypes in 2007, now "having" to drive for the Penske-Taylor team with his fellow Penske team drivers this year.  Yeah, life's rough, and I promise you he wasn't complaining!


I finally arrived at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway about two hours after my appointment time yesterday.  I was to have a physical with the Indy Racing League medical staff to obtain a 2008 driver credential.  With my late arrival I was only able to see Dawn Flinn of Ear Everything, a professional ear molding and earpiece business that serves the IRL.  It turns out, we had almost met days earlier at Daytona.  We struck a deal within minutes of meeting at the Speedway medical center for her to present an educational seminar on hearing protection and radio earpieces for the Skip Barber National Series opener at Sebring this coming March 12-14.   


Yesterday I appeared at the IMS media building for a morning meeting with just about every Indy Racing League executive, as well as the IndyCar and Indy Pro Series drivers and crew chiefs.  The most fascinating piece of the meeting was Dr. Terry Trammell's safety discussion.  The level of understanding he has of what happens when a formula car and its driver traveling 200 mph impacts a solid object is stunning.  If it was supposed to scare us, it didn't work.  All fifty drivers in the room didn't flinch, and just kept writing notes on what was presented.  


Speaking of work ethics, I came away from yesterday's meeting blown away at the professionalism of the IRL and its staff.  Every phone call I've made to them up to this day has been professional and informative.  Today's presentation shows how motivated and educated their staff is in marketing, promotions, television, safety, driver management, and much more.  They've convinced me their series is one any professional driver would be satisfied racing in, and that more sponsors and partners would eventually want to join once they got to know the culture.  


At this point, I have no idea what series I will be racing in 2008.  I'm still negotiating and networking with various teams in different series.  We'll just have to wait and see what happens.    


Stay tuned...


Gerardo

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